I’m basically still a new mom, since my son just recently turned 2. I really wanted to meet other new parents and make friends. I’ve tried meetup.com groups in the past and had a bit of luck with the ones in San Diego. But we moved to Austin, so I tried a group here. In hindsight the biggest mistake I made was choosing a brand new group that was formed by someone who wasn’t even in Austin yet. The organizer was moving from out of state and decided the best way to meet new people was to start a meetup group. It sounded good, and it was free, so I joined.
Nothing is ever perfect, but I still figured I could make friends. Though all the members are as new to the group as I am, some newer. Hardly anyone signs up to the events. Of course, the biggest problem is that most everything is scheduled during the week, and I have to work. That leaves either the nights or the weekends, but hardly anything is ever put on the calendar. Storytime is popular, so I thought I would try a Saturday one at a library that I thought was pretty close. I live within walking distance of Cedar Park, so I didn’t bother checking to see where their library was. I was quite surprised by how far away it was, but then the lack of RSVP’s didn’t surprise me. I live in NW Austin, so no one in central or south Austin would ever make the long drive for a half hour storytime. The other negative is that anyone who doesn’t live in Cedar Park can’t even check out any books. They would have to pay for the membership, and why do that when you can get a free membership at any Austin library? So I gave the meetup a 3 star rating. Just the event, not the meetup group itself.
I got the following email this afternoon from the husband half of the couple who organize the group (I’m leaving out their names for obvious reasons):
So I had a question regarding family storytime. Did you rate
the event a three for the fact that it was so far for you to
travel. Or was it the event itself you did not like? From your
review you enjoyed the event but it was too far for you to
travel. You easily could have got directions and realized it
was too far for you to travel before you went to the event.
Please let me know what the issue was. Everytime you rate
something it affects the overall group rating and we want this
to be a successful group. Thanks
I was immediately irritated by his accusation that I should have looked it up online to see how far away it was. But I tried to be diplomatic in my response, which follows:
Why do you think no one signs up for it? I live very close to cedar park, which is why the distance surprised me. I can’t even check out books there, since it isn’t Austin. So what’s the point, but please don’t chastise me for my rating. It’s my opinion, and I have a right to express it! No one else in Austin will ever want to go there, especially those in central and south Austin. They will find a library closer to them. Just FYI!
Apparently, he didn’t like my response and forwarded it to his wife, who immediately removed me from the group. Here is the comment she added:
I am shocked by your response to my husband. I think it was
completely out of line! He was just asking a question to
understand the 3 star rating. He is in charge of the group
now, since I have gone back to
work. He doesn’t want members in the group that have no respect
for him. You are being removed as a member of Austin PIT. Your
dues are non-refundable. I’m sorry but we can’t have this type
of hostility in our parents group.
Now I’m really angry. I paid the $10 dues less than a month ago for the entire year. Now they feel they have the right to remove me over a disagreement AND keep my money? I have filed a dispute with paypal, so we will see who wins this argument. But any parents with infants or toddlers beware of a relatively new meetup.com group that is run by two stuck-up, immature people, who think nothing of booting their members and stealing their dues.
Update: I’m happy to report that as of checking today, March 22, 2011, the group no longer exists. I’m hoping my articles on them helped inform other parents. Either way, I’m happy they are no longer ripping off Austin families. I do feel sorry for those that did pay and also most likely lost their yearly dues. Just another reason to avoid new groups. You pay, they disband, you’re out your dough. Stick with free or sponsored groups.